Ocoeur, Reversed, 2016
Several philosophical traditions hold that constant change and exchange are the ultimate truths of life as we know it. Curiously, in a recent TED talk, Maestro Bobby McFerrin has demonstrated that musicality is a fundamental component of life as well. Theoretically speaking then, music that is rooted in human consciousness, must be at its core, about this idea of constant change and exchange. All “music making” then, can ultimately be construed as an art of continuous transformations and intermingling of sounds (and silence). Ocoeur’s Reversed (2016) is one of the most excellent examples of that art of crafting sounds and silences.
Living in the electronic house of musical gardening, this album is not only theoretically committed to studying the branching and leafing of sounds and silences, but it is also spiritually inclined to create sonic moments that are difficult to describe in language. This ineffable quality is also the beauty and strength of “Reversed.” In this album, we can understand how sound and silence are more like two ends of an aural spectrum rather than binary opposites. It demonstrates how, not only music, but silences also have shapes, and that there are many kinds of silences hidden inside sounds. Sounds slip away as you try to hold them. Sounds scatter and disperse, then congeal into flights of migratory birds.
Through this artistry or tapestry, we are also encouraged to comprehend the complicated concepts of intrigue and anticipation, for example, in the opening salvo of “Flxo” and “Chance.” Here the musical worlds of Ocoeur move with deep undulations of synthesized drones etched with bright watery piano tones. Everything is held together by a hazy mist until we chance upon the unusual sounds of rocks and pebbles. Or as if a rocky coastline is being torn apart by giant waves. Perhaps trees are rattling their branches while thunderous clouds grumble at edges of a forest cave. This journey of awe through the many uninhabited worlds of sounds, seems timeless, as we move into the third track of the album called, not surprisingly, Timeless. A breeze of hisses develops and then gulps itself into a stuttering glitchy beat that comes studded with gorgeous bursts of piano sounds overlapping and fading with delay effects. It makes me feel as if the track flows alongside the soundscapes that Aphex Twin creates.
I am inherently attracted towards the delicate beauty of Souffle, which unfurls the mysteries of D minor, with a three-note simplicity and wonderfully fragile violins. Through a good quality sub the bass notes sound heavenly, and contemplate the tenderness of dawn. The feel of Souffle sits squarely within one of my favorite morning Ragas called Bhairavi. In the mix, “My immaculate morsels of Sadness” (hosted by the QuetCalm Records) I visit Ocoeur’s Souffle and Aside, and try to unfurl and showcase their grandeur as if like a comforting blanket over the secret griefs we hold inside our souls. In that way these tracks naturally followed the melancholy of Birds of Passage as it led me to the robust progressions of Bersarin Quartet.
Throughout the album, we are invited to contemplate the nature of chaos and pattern, change and structure, memory, and forgetfulness. The elegant cover art (also by Ocoeur) portrays this intention to explore the diametric opposites that make up a whole.
The white vinyl is of superior quality and does proper justice to the artist’s intentions. The memorable floor vibrating lows (note Reverse Yourself), the richness and depth of field of piano and strings are appropriately represented by the needle on the platter.
I can safely say, this album gives and gives, and never stops, and along the way it changes color with the seasons that live inside us.
By Drastic Steps
10 June 2019
Favorite track: Souffle.